National Coming Out Day: Celebrating Identity

National Coming Out Day happens October 11. Learn about the importance of this day in our community, and join us in celebrating being openly LGBTQ.
Grindr
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Editorial team
October 24, 2023
February 27, 2024
7
min. read
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The importance of Pride Month is always palpable in the gay community. But it takes more than the chill of fall to dull that spark. On October 11, National Coming Out Day condenses our leftover pride and pours it into 24 hours that dare us to live our lives authentically and openly.

So, what is National Coming Out Day, and how can it help you find more self-love? We’ve got a few ideas.

What is National Coming Out Day?

On this blessed day, LGBTQ individuals everywhere step out of their dusty closets and into their fresh and zesty truth. They’re encouraged to reveal their true selves to friends, family, and the world, breaking their silence and continuing in their lives with pride and recognition.

It sounds like a lot of flowery language for a day where you tell your liberal friends you like boys while they pretend to be shocked. They saw how you looked at the barista; they always see how you look at the barista.

But not everyone has the privilege of an accepting circle of open-minded loved ones. And even if you do, the day is a significant hallmark of progress in our community.

If homophobia is like global warming, coming out is like composting (except it typically smells better). Will you change the world overnight? Maybe not. But you can change your world and the lives of those around you.

The evolution of coming out

The context of coming out has changed significantly on a societal scale, as spaces around the world are becoming more inclusive. We've come a long way from the days when The American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality to be a sociopathic personality disturbance (although 1950 wasn't that long ago).

100 years of pride

The first documented LGBTQ rights organization in the U.S., The Society for Human Rights, was established in 1924 by Henry Gerber. This Chicago-based organization paved the way for change across the states.

Unfortunately, change happened at the pace of molasses for some time. Coming out still wasn't something most people felt comfortable with. It wasn't until the 1950s that the subject of sexuality started entering the collective consciousness.

The infamous Stonewall uprising on June 28, 1969 — where police raided the New York City inn and LGBTQ culture hub — catalyzed the gay rights movement to start in earnest on a grander scale. From here, things started to pick up. LGBTQ rights quickly became a hot-button issue, spreading like wildfire worldwide and daring everyone to take a side.

National Coming Out Day’s history began when psychologist Robert Eichberg and lesbian activist Jean O'Leary kicked things off in 1988. The day sprung from a tumultuous two decades where the country had a tug-of-war between hate and acceptance. It was the first day of its kind to help people share this part of their lives with their loved ones and release themselves from shame and self-doubt.

Coming out in the 2020s

These events and many others have brought us to today, where queerness somehow simultaneously feels like old news and a contentious political position. The younger generations are getting it right, and the country continues to make many strides in the right direction. 

Unfortunately, this is America we’re talking about. It often feels like we're moving one step forward and two steps back. But coming out has undeniably changed the fabric of our society; we're here, we're queer, and they need to get used to it. 

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The shift in overall acceptance of LGBTQ individuals has led many people to explore their sexualities more candidly. This freedom births more understanding of one’s self and allows people to identify in ways that feel more grounded in their reality — whether they’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or anything else.

More people are joining the parade than ever before. And that's a beautiful place to be.

The power of coming out

Let’s get one thing straight (or gay): It's no one's responsibility to come out, and you should only do so when you're truly ready.

Still, the enticing power of doing so is undeniable. If you’re still on the fence, we’ve got a couple compelling reasons to shout your sexuality from the rooftops:

Accepting yourself

Coming out is an emotional journey that pushes you to the brink of self-acceptance and dares you to lean into it. That journey begins long before someone comes out to their friends and family. It involves years of processing tough and sometimes heart-wrenching feelings, wondering if you'll ever be loved again by those who should love you unconditionally. It's a scary place to be. 

But staying in the closet only worsens things. Even if you’re only in a position to be honest with yourself, it has to happen. You deserve to find the path to self-acceptance.

Inspiring others

Coming out isn’t just good for you; it helps everyone suffering in silence. Courage is contagious, and anyone who sees you living out loud and proud will likely feel empowered to do the same.

That isn't to say you should come out because of societal pressure or because it would benefit others; only you know what's right for you. If you’re still questioning, deciding, thinking, feeling, and discovering, that’s okay! Just know that a new life awaits you whenever you're ready to receive it.

Through ups and downs — we got you, babe

It’s intimidating to change your outward presentation from heavyhearted hetero to hopeful hunty — no matter how accepting you think the people in your life will be.

We've all heard stories of people reacting in unexpected ways. The Dem dads disowning their child, the mom who means well but can't stop crying, the straight guy friends who can't put their money where their mouth is when it comes to acceptance (or even tolerance) — these are all possibilities that can scare anyone into upholding their vow of silence.

But even if the allies in your life just aren’t allying, National Coming Out Day has more to offer. It’s a day when the community comes together to welcome newcomers with open arms. There isn't a single LGBTQ person that doesn't know how you feel to some extent.

Even those with accepting families have encountered that one person in their life — maybe a boss, a teacher, or just a random person on the street — that made them feel like they had to stifle their true self to feel safe.

Whether it's National Coming Out Day in 2023 or 2063, you'll need a strong support system. No one should have to navigate these treacherous emotional waters alone, so don't hesitate to reach out to loved ones you trust and be vulnerable with them.

Tell them you're scared. Tell them you're excited. Tell them you don't have a clue how you feel. Being genuine with yourself doesn't stop at the words "I'm gay" — or whatever iteration you're saying. It's a muscle you stretch every time you open up to others.

How to celebrate National Coming Out Day the right way

Step one of coming out day: Come out. Easier said than done, we know. But you're being the most yourself you've ever been — congratulations!

Now, what's the best way you can celebrate this newfound pride? Connecting with others is always a good place to start. We recommend anything that helps you feel a sense of community, which means something different to everyone.

For some, their community is a friend group or an online forum; for others, it’s their three cats or even their Neopets (your daily deep cut). There's no wrong way to share, so speak your truth with people who care about you.

National Coming Out Day is also a time to celebrate the diverse voices in our community and highlight their experiences. Connection happens when there's a shared experience we can all relate to. It's beautiful when we find a common thread in each other's tapestry.

Coming out is courageous and cunty

It doesn't matter if you're stuck in a broom closet or a walk-in; you're still surrounded by four walls. National Coming Out Day encourages you to break free from the shackles that force you to hide this part of yourself. And if you're already out or an LGBTQ ally, this is the day you can support the hidden honeys around you through this challenging, exciting, and nerve-wracking time.

The grass might not always be greener on the other side, but it certainly is gayer. And you know what that means? That's right: well-trimmed.

Put yourself way out there on Grindr

There’s no better place to be out and proud than on Grindr. You’re sure to find your people among our millions of monthly users. Download the Grindr app or peruse our platform hands-free with Grindr Web on your laptop or PC — no download required.

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